On today's radio show, Glenn told the audience that he has asked his family to take some pretty drastic measures: put away the cell phones, iPads, and video games at home! Five years ago this would have been a simple request, but today technology has become such an integral part of our lives that his family absolutely hates the idea. Why would they leave their phones at the door? How will people get in touch if there is an emergency? These are the concerns that have come up in a society where everyone is connected 24/7 - and Glenn thinks it's time to make some changes.
" We have hit or we are so near the point of singularity that life is going to change as we know it at an increasingly rapid speed. This is not a Glenn Beck prediction. This is Ray Kurzweil. This is science. This is the point of singularity," Glenn explained.
"IBM came out over the holiday and said that they are five years away from computers using ‑ try this on for size ‑ all five senses. How does a computer taste? How does a computer smell?" Glenn asked.
While the rapid advancement of technology is a huge concern, Glenn is much more interested in how technology has profoundly changed the way families interact and children behave.
"How many of our children can put the phone down? How many of our children have we watched sitting next to somebody texting? Them? Not even talking to them like a real person? Look at the person, they're sitting next to you. They're texting."
"How many, how many people, me included, are so addicted, I don't ‑‑ I don't have my iPad probably more than 10 feet away from me at any time. I always have it with me. I carry it around in the house."
"Do you walk around your house now with your iPad? Yes. You have connected. You have begun the process of merging with machines. It's not a physical merge yet, but Ray Kurzweil says that's ten years on the horizon. It's not a physical merge yet."
Glenn compared the addiction that people have to technology to alcohol or drugs and alcohol addictions. He said that if you ask them to stay off their smart phones or tablets, the excuses you hear would be: "I don't have a problem." "It's you that has a problem with this." "I don't need to get rid of this." "I can't function without this."
"You will absolutely get the reaction of an alcoholic. Trust me, I know because I'm an alcoholic. So I know the signs and I also suggest it to my family: No electronics in the house. And that did not go over well."
So what is Glenn's solution? He suggested putting a box by the front door where everyone would put their devices when they came into the house. "You come in with your device, you put it in the box. You put it right there by the front door."
While Stu didn't totally agree with Glenn on the issue, he did understand a lot of his points.
"I can't live without text messaging. And it's not because I don't ‑‑ like I'm addicted to it. I just, it shortens my interaction with people," Stu explained. "I cannot deal with someone sitting there texting. I mean, it happens all the time with friends of mine. They are sitting there texting, reading e‑mails while I'm in the middle of a sentence. And I know I'm boring."
Thankfully for Glenn's employees, he said today on radio that people don't need to respond e-mails or phone calls that come in at eleven o'clock at night or even three in the morning.
"Whenever I have a thought, I e‑mail or I text. Boom. So it's instant and never ending. Instead of writing it down and then talking at an appropriate time or whatever. And we think that we have to respond to that immediately. 'Oh, they text messaged me. I've got to get...' no, you don't. No, you don't. Because, A, we're just doing it while we think about it. We have it on our mind, so we do it. And we think we have to respond to it right away, which we don't. And it's most likely not even that important because I guarantee you, shut down your text messaging and your e‑mail. Just do it for a couple of weeks and say, you've got to call me. If you have a problem with the e‑mails and the texts coming from your business all the time, you tell people to call you at home, I guarantee you half of them won't. I guarantee you they will figure it out on their own because anybody who's calling my house, I get text messages and e‑mails and I'm fine with it. I get them all the time from everybody in the company. Ask you a question, I just, 'How about this, how about this,' blah, blah‑blah. Not a problem. But if I said to them, 'By the way, you have to call me. I don't have text,' no one will," he said.
"It's intruding on our time that is the most important time with our family. We're at home."